Terence Samuel

Terence Samuel is a Prospect senior correspondent and the author of The Upper House: A Journey behind the Closed Doors of the U.S. Senate, published in May by Palgrave Macmillan. Follow him on Twitter.

Recent Articles

All Together

Washington politics is a constant collection of amazements. Over the life of the Bush presidency, one of the most stunning developments has been the unfolding cohesiveness of the Democrats, the closing of what I call the Charlie-to-Charlie spectrum. From the most liberal member of Congress (say, Charlie Rangel of Harlem) to the most conservative Democrat walking the halls (Texas's Charlie Stenholm, for instance), party members have begun talking with one voice, complaining about the way Republicans are managing the legislature. Even though Charlie Rangel wants to bring back the military draft for middle-class kids, and Charlie Stenholm had to run a picture of himself with George Bush to get reelected for the 13th time in 2000, both of them have ended up in pretty much the same place: deeply resentful of the GOP leadership. The Democrats have bound their wounds with outrage. And so at the start of this 2004 campaign season, a unified, energized Democratic Party is taking the field...

Message Massage

There are 100 workdays on the Senate calendar between now and October 1, when the 108th Congress hopes to get out of town and on with the business of getting itself re-elected. On the other side of the Capitol, the schedule is even lighter, with the House having settled into the grinding rhythms of a three-day workweek. But this is an election year, and so it is not the least bit surprising that a lot of nothing is happening or going to happen on Capitol Hill during these last days. What we can expect is a series of wide-ranging, often shameless efforts on both sides to engage in activities that may help members of Congress in November -- legislation as campaign literature. There will be debates about gay marriage, abortion, the minimum wage, foreign trade, and the right to buy and bear arms. For Democrats, who have been trying to clean up the muddle of their message since they got whacked by the GOP's "Contract With America" 10 years ago, this means that the Message Bazaar is open...

Rational Exuberance

There is a strange, rare political species quietly roaming the landscape these days. Long endangered and occasionally thought to be extinct, its sudden re-emergence is as startling as it is sublime, particularly on Capitol Hill, where it seemed to face a fate on par with what the dinosaurs endured. Here, of course, I speak of the Hopeful Democrat. And I'm laying odds that before too long there will be an office in town with "HDC" -- Hopeful Democratic Coalition/Caucus -- stenciled on the door. There will be a Starbucks nearby, of course, and a house account for Cosi-catered lunches. And on this hoped-for day, they will to sit around a big conference table and reminisce about the bad old days, when George W. Bush was in the White House and Tom DeLay was House majority leader. They will hold seminars on how to beat a sitting president when he's got more than $150 million in the bank, or how to win back the House when that seems redistricted out of the realm of possibility. It's the...